“What kind of season does Andy Dalton need to have in 2013 to make you feel comfortable that he truly is a franchise quarterback?”
Really, he needs to just keep his career average during the last six games of the season. His QBR has dropped 20 points at the end of last two seasons and playoffs. Andy just needs to finish a season in my opinion. If he can average around 230 yards a game with 1-2 touchdowns and a 67% accuracy, I’m ok with that, and I’m sure the defense could live with that.
Andy Dalton has had a solid first two seasons in the NFL.Dalton has completed 629 of 1,044 passes for just over a 60% completion percentage. Dalton has also thrown for 7,067 yards with 47 touchdowns to 29 interceptions. Solid numbers, but for Dalton to make me feel comfortable with him as a franchise quarterback, he is going to have to show me some improvement in some of the aspects of his game. Jay Gruden even said it – “there isn’t one phase of Andy’s game that he can’t improve on”. I’d like to see Andy to improve his deep ball accuracy and see him utilize his mobility more. At the end of the day, though, he is going to need to take us further into the postseason.
The real question is what can Andy Dalton do to make people who hate him believe he is a franchise quarterback. There is always an excuse for the great things he’s done. From back to back playoff seasons, to the third-most touchdown passes in his first two seasons. A lot of the credit is given to the remarkable defense and A.J. Green. I love Dalton, but he’ll have to win a playoff game and dye his hair.
Towards the end of Andy Dalton’s first NFL season, I came to the conclusion that his ceiling as a pro would be the level Atalanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan is playing at right now. He didn’t have the biggest arm early in his career either, but used great anticipation and accuracy to pick apart defenses on his way to becoming one of the top QBs in the game. I also believed the floor for Dalton’s potential was former Jets/Dolphins QB Chad Pennington. He had arguably the weakest arm of any starting NFL QB when he was in the league, and his lack of down-the-field accuracy made it easier for defenses to play his receivers tight and suffocate his offenses. That also lead to his 2-4 career playoff record, and Dalton is already off to an 0-2 start to his postseason career.
Andy is still only 25 years old, and history says he should continue to improve for at least two more seasons. While it’s unlikely he’ll develop the arm strength of the NFL’s elite QB class, if he can continue to improve his accuracy, anticipation, footwork, mechanics, and poise under pressure, he can become a top-10 QB in this league, and given the defense he has, as well as the offensive weapons, that should be good enough for the Bengals to become Super Bowl contenders.